Canada's 2018 budget heralds introduction of deferred prosecution agreements for corporate wrongdoing

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Mar 16, 2018

On March 16, 2018, Dentons released a bulletin that describes the potential impact of the Government’s announcement that it intends to introduce legislation to establish Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) as “an additional tool to hold corporate offenders to account”, and explains why it could prove to be a significant change to the current regime for tackling corporate crime in Canada.

This commitment followed the release of the results of the Government’s fall 2017 public consultation process, which revealed strong public support for the introduction of DPAs in Canada.

The availability of DPAs to address alleged corporate wrongdoing is potentially an extremely important development for the Canadian enforcement regime. Pursuing serious corporate wrongdoing typically requires the deployment of a very significant amount of resources; indeed, white collar investigations often require gathering and reviewing vast amounts of electronic and paper records, analyzing complex financial data, and to the extent the wrongdoings are international in scope, co-ordination with foreign law enforcement agencies (often against a politically charged back-drop).

The limits of law enforcement budgets in Canada are well-documented, and from a practical perspective, the availability of DPAs is likely to help ameliorate some of the strain on law enforcement resources by providing a means resolve corporate prosecutions without having to bear the enormous demands associated with pursing every case to trial (or else abandoning them entirely).

Review the full bulletin on Dentons' website.

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